July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Engineering Design Graphics
This report details the result of shifting an in-person prototyping and fabrication class to fully online, mid-semester, in the face of the COVID pandemic. During any normal semester, in this class students work individually and in pairs to gain proficiency on tools and processes in the university design prototyping space. Students learn the following: hand/power tools, sewing, 2D drawing, laser cutting, water jet cutting, plasma cutting, 3D printing, CNC machining, and molding/casting. Homework products are the result of practicing those tools or skills to produce a physical artifact, like a CNC machined piece, or a laser cut box. Instruction in this course is two-pronged, first to teach the students to be competent operators of the tool, and second to help them to exercise technique or skill in the usage of that skill to produce these artifacts. The learning outcomes of the course follow this instruction and state that the students should gain functional proficiency. Therefore the CNC machined piece should be produced with the correct settings and post-processed accordingly, and the laser cut box should have finger joints that fit together tightly with the correct tolerances.
In the spring, when classes moved online, this course was challenged to execute a hard pivot to meet learning outcomes while students were no longer in person. Typically, classes that have a physical making component have struggled to offer alternatives to those assignments when classes are delivered without the use of an in-person makerspace. We shifted our homework deliverables to accommodate the new normal of online education only by leaning on the many digital tools that are available to students. The students designed work and it was then produced by the instructor and tested based on a criterion set for the homework. The best example of this transition was in the conversion of the laser cutter assignment from the traditional “produce a laser cut box” to “produce a laser cut PPE mask.” Student versions were designed using 2D design tools and then cut with the laser cutter by the instructor. The resulting face shields were assembled (or attempted to be) and feedback was given to students who then revised the design for another round. The results of this study highlight how the shift of assignments from the late-process stage of making to the early-process stage of designing can conserve learning outcomes for students even when instruction is in a virtual environment and not in the native environment of the physical makerspace.
Amador, A., & Wettergreen, M. (2021, July), Abruptly Transitioning an In-Person Hands-on Prototyping Course to Fully Online Instruction: The Creative Tension Between Maintaining a Positive Experience and Achieving Learning Outcomes Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36633
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